Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Case for an Early Hierarchy

Last week, and this coming week and the next week (depending on if you're on the Julian or Gregorian Calendar), the Catholic Church as a whole celebrates Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday, 40 and 50 days after Easter. What many people don't understand is this is the celebration of the official start of the Hierarchy- the point at which Jesus stopped reappearing to convince people he was alive, and ten days later, when he sent His Holy Spirit to transform 11 Aramaic and Jewish fishermen, tax collectors, and other relative outcasts into the first set of Christian preachers the world ever saw.

And these weren't your ordinary preachers- internal to the Bible we only have one book about them, the Acts of the Apostles, and in there you've got plenty of miracles, from speaking in tongues to healing the sick to raising the dead. External to the Bible, we have the legends of the Eastern and Western Catholic Churches about how the Patriarchs (starting with James in Jerusalem and John in Antioch and Peter in Rome) got started, as well as horrific tales like what happened to the guy they chose to replace Judas and be their 12th (stoned to death) or what happened to Philip when he tried to evangelize some of the more primitive tribes in Africa (food for cannibals).

But these 12 (counting Stephen, after he was ordained by the others, complete with laying on of hands) were the start of something big. Over 1.5 billion Catholics, when you count the Eastern Rite churches along with the 1.1 billion in the Latin Rite, are believers in this world today- 75% of the Christians in this world follow one of the Patriarchs who can trace their lineage back to the Apostles WITHOUT excommunication.

So when the emergence folks say they want to get rid of Sola Scriptura, and the mistakes of so many different interpretations of the Bible- why not return to one of the Catholic Churches- the folks who experienced Pentecost directly, proceeded to edit their writings into the Scripture you say means so much- and STILL EXIST TODAY!

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Oustside The Asylum by Ted Seeber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
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